The process of rubber mixing and moulding produces thermoset rubber compounds. In this context, it is important to understand the difference between thermoset and thermostatic materials, so that the final product retains its quality.
Most rubber compounds are thermosetting materials, while most plastics are thermoplastic. Here lies the confusion between thermoplastics and thermosetting materials.
Thermoplastics can be continuously re-melted when they are heated, and thermosets cannot be. Thermoplastics are transformed into finished moulded parts using injection moulding.
In contrast, thermosets cannot be reheated. Once you have set up your thermoset material, further heating it will only deteriorate the quality of material and lose chemical and physical properties.
Most of the rubber compounds are thermosets, and these compounds result in finished moulded parts by injection moulding, compression, or transfer. There are two available methods of moulding thermosets. Thermoplastics are moulded using only one method due to the form of the material.
To add to the confusion, there also are thermoplastic forms of rubber and thermoset forms of plastic. Polyurethane is one of such materials which is available in both thermosetting and thermoplastic forms. It needs a competent technical support team to deduce which is best suited for the particular design and application.
Most plastics we encounter today are thermoplastics, while rubber compounds remain overwhelmingly thermosetting due to the nature of rubber application.
Rubber has a wide range of application in various industries, such as electrical, automotive, medical, and appliances. Its unique molecular structure and useful properties ensure product elongation and good elastic recovery. Rubber is also very soft and flexible, maintains good chemical resistance and is very useful in wide temperature ranges.
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